The Battle Of The Sexes Continue In The Revolt Of Mother

1600 words - 6 pages

The Battle of the Sexes Continue in The Revolt Of Mother

    "Unsolicited opportunities are the guide-posts of the Lord to the new roads of life." This quote from Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's "The Revolt Of 'Mother"' exemplifies the independent and rebellious spirit of the main character, Sarah Penn. Because Sarah Penn's behavior is unorthodox for a woman of the nineteenth century, the author constantly compared her to similar historical figures.


      When Mrs. Penn is baking her husband's favorite mince pies, we become aware of the first historical relationship. The author described her face as "full of meek vigor which might have characterized one of the New Testament saints." The author continues to express that "however deep a resentment she might be forced to hold against her husband, she would never fail in sedulous attention to his wants." These statements show that Sarah is as loyal, passive, and loving as a pious saint. The comparison also points out her forgiving nature which allows her to be loving and cooperative with her husband despite any differences they may have.


      The second reference to a historical figure comes when Sarah calls to Adoniram, her husband, to stop his work and speak with her. When he repeatedly refuses to talk with her, she exclaims, "Father, you come here," in a voice which booms with authority. Even her stance is as regal as her inflections, for she stands in the doorway holding her head as if she were wearing a crown. Despite her original intentions, this dignified behavior doesn't last long. As she is expressing her feelings about her husband's new barn, her stance turns to that of a humble woman from Scripture. This sudden change in behavior represents her volatile, but complex character. The regal characteristics represent her desire for independence and dignity, while her humble behavior represents her basic submissiveness and old-fashioned ways.


      Wilkens Freeman even compared Sarah's character to the British general, James Wolfe, who climbed the Heights of Abraham to fight and win a battle against Quebec during the Seven Years War (1756-1763) (Stanford 563). Sarah won this appellation when she and her children moved all the household possessions into the new barn while her husband was away. The comparison of Sarah's behavior to that of the British General symbolizes her bravery for fighting for what is best for herself and her children, just as General Wolfe fought for what he believed was right. It represents how she went against the dominance of her husband and the ways of society to gain justice.

      The final example of Sarah Penn's similarities to historical figures comes toward the end of the story when the town minister, who represents the moral establishment, visits Sarah at her new "home." She is described as greeting him with her typical saintly face, but this time with an angry undertone. Her eyes show the spirit that her meek personality...

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